Definition of primrose in English:


Line breaks: prim|rose
Pronunciation: /ˈprɪmrəʊz


  • 1A European plant of woodland and hedgerows, which produces pale yellow flowers in the early spring.
    • Primula vulgaris, family Primulaceae (the primrose family). This family also includes the cowslip, pimpernels, and cyclamens
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    • Around this time of year, there is a good show of daffodils, tulips, primroses, primula, helibores orientalis and other spring flowers.
    • Spring flowers - celandines, primroses, violets, wood anemones - were followed by pyramid and early purple orchids, wild thyme and rockrose.
    • The Cowslip Count took place in the spring of 2000 and we received data on over 2,000 places around the UK where cowslips, primroses and false oxlips are growing.
  • 1.1 (also primrose yellow) [mass noun] A pale yellow colour: old-fashioned tones of primrose and lavender [as modifier]: primrose-yellow paintwork
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    • If you walk around the historic districts of Willemstad - Punda, Otrabanda, Scharloo and Pietermaai - you'll spot every hue from ochre or primrose yellow to baby blue and candyfloss pink.
    • ‘The colour is primrose yellow and national guidelines state that this or cream must be used for yellow lines in all conservation areas,’ a council spokeswoman reveals.
    • It produces large trumpet, ivory white flowers which open a lovely pale primrose yellow, fading gradually to pure white.


primrose path

The pursuit of pleasure, especially when it is seen to bring disastrous consequences: blithely unaware of his doom, he continued down his primrose path
[with allusion to Shakespeare's Hamlet i. iii. 50]
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  • The populace wanting a reprieve from ‘the necessities of their condition,’ he wrote, had been led down the primrose path by a mirage of well-being to which ideological conjurers had made them feel entitled.
  • In the one glass, alcohol can stimulate the mind or lend courage to the meek; in the other, it is a primrose path to perdition.
  • But pretending the budget doesn't matter is the primrose path to high taxes and poor services.


late Middle English: compare with Old French primerose and medieval Latin prima rosa, literally 'first rose'.

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